Archives fundraiser brings in thousands for Make-a-Wish
By Jason Arndt
Make-a-Wish Wisconsin has helped hundreds, if not thousands, of children in the state find hope and joy amid challenging times since its inception.
Henry Hanline, 10, of Burlington, was one of the children who benefited from Make-a-Wish Wisconsin about six years ago while he received ongoing treatment for epilepsy.
In 2017, when he was only four years old, Henry, his younger sister, Mabel, along with parents Gary and Lauren Hanline went to Disney World in Florida.
Lauren, who co-owns Archives Bar and Grill with Gary and another couple, said the trip helped the family immensely and decided to name Make-a-Wish Wisconsin as the chief beneficiary for the establishment’s one-year anniversary fundraiser with $6,500 raised in July.
On Nov. 18 at Archives, with a representative from Make-a-Wish Wisconsin on hand, the establishment delivered the check for $6,500.
“I have always wanted to give back to Make-a-Wish, so that was my suggestion and everybody was completely on board with it,” Lauren said.
Lauren’s sister, Samantha Boyle, and Samantha’s husband, Maxwell Boyle, also serve as co-owners of Archives.
Jordyn Dutkiewicz, events coordinator for Make-a-Wish, said the donation will help fund a trip for a boy named Anders who lives in Mount Pleasant, just east of Interstate 94, in Racine County.
“The fundraiser that Archives put on is a huge help for us to grant wishes,” Dutkiewicz said. “They grant a local wish, which is close to them. It just really shows them who their donation is helping.”
Six years ago, the Make-a-Wish Foundation reached out to Henry’s neurologist seeking possible recipients, with the physician recommending the Hanlines.
Henry, who had uncontrollable epilepsy, had experienced multiple seizures and underwent several surgeries at Boston Children’s Hospital at the time.
Make-a-Wish, meanwhile, organized a party at the Hanline home and invited several relatives before Henry and his family boarded a flight to Florida.
“It all started when they presented Henry with his wish and they had a party at the house,” Lauren said. “We had all the family, and they gave him and Mabel gifts. Then Mickey Mouse wrote Henry and said he couldn’t wait for him to come and visit.”
After the party, the Hanlines received a limousine ride to the airport, where they boarded a plane for Florida.
Henry, who met Dutkiewicz for the first time on Saturday, reviewed his trip by showing a scrapbook of the activities he and his family participated in while in Florida.
“He is very happy and I could just tell how much the wish meant to (the family). When he was talking about his trip, he had nothing but smiles,” Dutkiewicz said. “It just warms my heart to know what a huge impact the trip had on him.”
Henry said he enjoyed Splash Mountain at Disney World and took home valuable learning experiences about penguins when he and his family went to Sea World.
As a family, the trip served as a respite from the challenges he faced, Lauren said.
“I think it has an enormous impact on us all as a family. It just kind of took us away from this dark, doomsday event that we had been dealing with for years,” Lauren said, as she nearly broke down in tears. “We just got to step away and have fun and not have to worry about anything.”
Lauren, meanwhile, said Henry had his last surgery in 2019 and hasn’t had a seizure since as she cautiously knocked on wood for superstitious purposes.
Henry, who attends Dyer Elementary in the Burlington Area School District, enjoys playing video games and teasing his younger sister, and oftentimes brightens people’s lives.
“He is the sweetest kid on Earth. He is full of compliments. Everybody he sees, he has got nothing but nice things to say to them,” Lauren said. “He is just the kindest, sweetest soul.”
As for Make-a-Wish Wisconsin, the foundation delivered the Hanlines a packet of details, including information on the child who benefited from the Archives fundraiser.
“We raised a pretty substantial amount of money for Make-a-Wish, so we were able sponsor one child for sure,” Lauren said.
Considering how much Make-a-Wish helped the Hanlines, Lauren said the foundation plays a key role in changing the lives of children, including her son, Henry.
“I think it is an amazing thing that they do for these kids and their families who are in the darkest part of their lives,” Lauren said. “It is way to make the kid feel like a kid and not like a patient, or science experiment, getting several tests.”
Dutkiewicz, meanwhile, said children like Henry, and others, would not have been able to experience these trips without the help of generous Wisconsinites and other donations.
“We grant wishes for children with critical illnesses in the state of Wisconsin and provide them with hope, strength and joy,” Dutkiewicz said. “Of course, we can’t do that without the community’s help and all of our amazing donors from throughout the state.”
Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the Nov. 23 print edition of the Burlington Standard Press.